Sunday promises to be another spectacular spring day. What better place to spend it but down at the harbor where Santa Barbara’s rich maritime history comes to life during the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum’s annual Sea Festival. The festival is free and is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

With the return of the Spirit of Dana Point — the Ocean Institute‘s 18th-century, 118-foot privateer — visitors can experience the era of tall ships. The Maritime Museum also is proudly celebrating the opening of its permanent Marilyn S. Tennity Surfing Exhibit.

The fun-filled day of dockside and museum activities features performers in period costume, docent-guided tours, totally tubular crafts, sea & surf sing-a-longs, storytelling, Irish music from Foggy Dew and more. All activities, including tall ship tours, are free to the public, thanks to the generosity of event sponsors that include the Henry Bull Foundation, the Monroe Foundation, Venoco Inc. and the Community Events & Festivals Grant Program using funds provided by the city of Santa Barbara in partnership with the Santa Barbara County Arts Commission.

The Tennity Surfing Exhibit features local surfers, surf spots, and the surfing innovators who influenced the sport through competitions, film, art and photography, board design, and surf equipment. Visitors can learn about local surfing history, beginning with Gates Foss, who first surfed Rincon back in the 1930s, and local legends such as shapers Al Merrick and Renny Yater, filmmakers Bruce Brown and George Greenough, and world champions Tom Curren, Kim Mearig and Kelly Slater.

Visitors walk under a 12-foot long, 9-foot tall breaking wave as they enter the exhibit. The wave features some of the surf spots for which Santa Barbara County is world-famous and video footage from Greenough. Other exhibit highlights include the camera Greenough used to film The Innermost Limits of Pure Fun, one of his legendary kneeboards, and a series of interviews and oral histories that are showing on an interactive touch screen monitor. A collection of surfboards ridden and signed by several of the Santa Barbara area’s professional surfers and vintage boards by shapers Yater, Clyde Beatty Jr. and Matt Moore are on display.  Visitors have a chance to stand on a custom-made surfboard by shaper Dave Johnson and leave behind their thoughts about what surfing means to them.

Meanwhile, sunset sails aboard the Spirit of Dana Point are available from 5-7 p.m., with boarding at 4:30 p.m. Tickets are $40 for adults (ages 13+) and $19 for juniors (4-12). Space is limited, and advance purchase is recommended. For more information or to purchase sail tickets, call 805.962.8404 x115.

Click here for more information on the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum.

Jonatha King is a principal of King Communications.